Writing Advice From Our Writers

Shutterstock / Stefano Garau © Writing Advice

Our website is full of tips, tricks and writing advice to help you write the best story that you can.

Most of the time, it comes from us lot on the Fiction team. But sometimes it comes from our writers.

Each week we choose a Writer of the Week from our pool of talented people, and ask them about their writing.

The last question is always “what is your top tip for an aspiring writer?” And their advice is always golden!

So, I thought I would highlight some of the advice they’ve shared over the years all in one place.

Let’s see what they had to say . . .

Getting going

Annie Harris: “Just write. That sounds trite, but you have to really stick at it. It’s a discipline – and a very hard one – to sit alone in a room with a blank sheet of paper and try to conjure words out of thin air. There are days when you’d rather do anything – even clean out the hamster’s cage – than actually sit there. But it’s worth it.”

Helen Yendall: “A quote I heard once, which has stuck with me, is ‘give yourself permission to write rubbish’. Just get that rough, first draft down, and then spend time polishing and improving it. Very few people can write perfect prose in one go: it’s the reworking and the editing that makes all the difference.”

Stay inspired

Jessma Carter: “Keep a notebook and use it to jot down a phrase, an idea—even in the middle of the night.”

Maggie Ingall: “If you possibly can, join a Writers’ Group.  They will share your frustrations, disappointments and triumphs as no-one else can.”

Lily Christie: “Write the sort of thing you like to read.”

Hone your craft

Stefania Hartley: “Read a lot, learn the craft (books, workshops, courses, there’s plenty to choose from) and develop a thick skin for rejections.”

Market research

Kitty-Lydia Dye: “Read and read and read — especially the guidelines for whatever magazine or publisher you are submitting to!”

Liz Filleul: “If you want to write for “The People’s Friend”, read as many copies of the magazine as you can to get a really good feel for the type of stories they publish.”

Make revisions

Kate Blackadder: “Read your work aloud to yourself. You pick up repetitions, clunky dialogue etc. that you don’t pick up on screen.”

Alice Elliott: “Don’t forget to ask for feedback, too, especially from those who know the market well. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but there’s no better learning tool.”

Anne Pack: “Don’t be discouraged by criticism and feedback. It will help to improve your work.”

Finally . . .

Sharon Haston: “Write as often as you can and celebrate every success, no matter how small.”

A new Writer Of The Week interview is posted every Monday on our website. They frequently have their own writing advice to offer, too!

Click here to subscribe to “The People’s Friend” today.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.